We dreamt about heading into the

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We dreamt about heading into the Powered By Docstoc
					We dreamt about heading into the Antarctic Peninsula.                         primary purpose of the Antarctic Treaty is to ensure “in the interests of
It’s stark, pure, cold and unpredictable wilderness wet our                   all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively
appetite for adventure. If it stirs yours, read on.                           for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of
                                                                              international discord”. The Treaty entered into force on 23 June 1961
                                                                              and applies to the area south of 60o South latitude.”
Our experience was that it is not as easy as paying the money and             If you are thinking of going on a private expedition you will need to
jumping on a cruise boat, if your mode is a purpose-built arctic yacht        contact the ministry and my suggestion is this is best done straight
with a global team (half of whom you are still to meet). We were lucky        away, so that you can start the permit process. The Ministry staff we
enough to chance upon some friends we hadn’t seen for 14 years who            had contact with, were extremely helpful and professional in their
owned the yacht Northanger and were planning this expedition.                 dealings with us. Their website is hugely informative and well worth a
It was a trip of a lifetime …. How could we refuse!                           read www.mfat.govt.nz then search on Antarctica.

Why would anyone want to spend their summer on the Antarctic                  The permit process part of the trip was possibly the most stressful part
Peninsula was a regular comment from female friends back in New               of the whole trip. All I can recommend is if you are a New Zealander
Zealand. “Won’t you get cold?” It was a really simple question and the        planning your trip from New Zealand get onto the permit process
answer is no. Not when you’re wearing good clothing, have the right           early. It is not fun waiting for the official go when you are already
fuel in your body and you’re moving!                                          in South America. We completed an advance notification and then
                                                                              an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Our friends were a huge
We were on a journey to this foreign land to sail, climb and fly              source of support during this time of report writing which nearly ‘broke
(paraglider and hang glider) these foreboding environments. Here’s            the camel’s back’.
what we can share with you from our expedition completed during the
summer of 2005/06:
1. Be determined and prepared – allow a minimum of two years of               3. Things we learned on the expedition
   planning                                                                   You can plan for everything but you need to be adaptable to what is
2. About the Antarctic Treaty and permission to go                            going on around you. The climate and weather were not predictable.
                                                                              What we didn’t expect was some of the incredibly warm days we got. Yip,
3. Things we learned on the expedition                                        we experienced first hand evidence of global warming. While anchored
                                                                              close to the Port Lockroy post office (S64o49.689’ W063o29.274’) the
                                                                              temperature soared to a tropical 13 degrees Celsius. This was t-shirt
1. Be determined and prepared – allow two years of planning                   weather! Thank goodness our Icebreaker merino clothing coped well
                                                                              with both the heat and cold. The warm temperatures were softening
The trip needed to be fed money, time to get fit and a chance to learn
                                                                              the snow and melting the glaciers. Our goal was radically altered
as much about the environment and weather as was known. To try and
                                                                              due to crevasses opening up, snow softening (making the going a
add a big element of fun into the planning we had an open invitation
                                                                              lot slower) and regular avalanches. As a result of the weather we
to our mates to join us on any or part of our many training trips.
                                                                              changed our goal to Luigi Peak which was accessible from sea level,
Our expedition involved a global team of eight people who were keen to        still challenging (4,708 feet) and an interesting peak as you will see
sail a 54 foot purpose built arctic yacht (the Northanger) to the Antarctic   from the accompanying photos.
Peninsula. Of course this involved the formidable Drake Passage on
                                                                              After hauling a hang glider (separated into 3 packs) and a paraglider
the southern ocean. The plan was to ski and climb a mountain called
                                                                              (divided into 2 packs) up Luigi Peak the weather never co-operated.
Francais (9,055 feet) hauling a hang glider and paraglider so we could
                                                                              On the day we set out the weather was fine and although the forecast
attempt the first descent from the summit and land as close to the yacht
                                                                              was reasonable, the cloud set up a layer of moist air from just above
as possible. We were expecting to be gone for 45 days.
                                                                              sea level up to about 2,000 feet. It was beautiful above this layer but
The biggest logistic was gathering the right people together who              for five days while we waited it never budged and in fact it sat there for
were skilled, able to enjoy the environment and keen to take the time         a full ten days, by which time we had to move on.
off work. Luckily, people living in Europe get decent annual leave
                                                                              The beauty of the quiet, stark, white, glistening snow with no wildlife to
entitlements (about 6 weeks). The team included; Jude Tarr, Mark
                                                                              be seen was breathtaking. The close to 24 hour light was extraordinary
Patton, Greg Landreth, Keri Pashuk, Marc Alder, Valerie Moret, Jeromine
                                                                              … my body rhythms were completely lengthened and it was not unusual
Pasteur and Laurent Chaveta.
                                                                              to be up at 4 am in the morning. The daylight was great when climbing as
                                                                              we did an 18 hour day from start to stop when heading up Luigi Peak.
2. About the Antarctic Treaty and permission to go                            We met some of the best people in the most remote places. Our team
                                                                              and the folk we met sailing and working on the ice made the Drake
This is no ordinary piece of property. The first thing we had to know
                                                                              Passage worth while. Antarctica was a trip of a lifetime.
about the Antarctic Peninsula was that it is protected by the Antarctic
Treaty. Here is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website says about
it “The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by the twelve nations that
had been active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year
(Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand,
Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and USSR). The

                           “The plan was to
ski and climb a mountain called Francais
  (9,055 feet) hauling a hang glider and

            “It was a trip of a lifetime… How could we refuse!”


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